For nearly two years, York senior girls gymnast Maryalice Shockey has continued persevering in the wake of lost opportunities.
When she suffered a season-ending broken right ankle at the Hersey Invite December 14, 2019, Shockey responded by becoming even better.
“In the summer (of 2020), I definitely worked really hard not only to get the skills back but to get new skills,” Shockey said. “(Previously) I would sometimes limit myself, (thinking), ‘I’m not going to do that skill because I’m scared of it,’ but I’d think about how I wasn’t able to do anything. It would just kind of motivate me because I had been in the position where I wasn’t able to even try it.”
Area gymnasts are excited for what should be a relatively normal season – and the return of an IHSA postseason canceled by the COVID restrictions during the limited 2020-21 season. Especially as a senior, Shockey is among those eager to reach state for the first time.
“It’s always been something I’ve thought about since freshman year,” Shockey said. “I really want to (qualify). Last year it was a goal of mine but obviously wasn’t possible because of COVID. It would be awesome if I could this year.”
Only eight current area gymnasts on rosters competed at state in 2020 or 2019 as individual qualifiers or with qualifying teams – Willowbrook’s Bella Naumovsky, Downers Grove co-op’s Kate Snouffer, Emily Smetana, Katrina Carlson and Cherylin Parrilli, Glenbard East’s Ella Kud and Riley Olson and Glenbard West’s Alina Bhagwakar.
Shockey brings further off-season training from Action Gymnastics club after her most productive showings as a junior. In York’s five meets last season, Shockey had four 9s on uneven parallel bars and three on floor exercise.
At the season-ending West Suburban Conference Silver Division Meet March 13, Shockey was second on uneven bars (9.25) and third for floor exercise (9.275) and all-around (35.425).
“With all of the training I had been doing in high school and also outside in club, it was really reassuring that my efforts had been paid off,” Shockey said. “I was happy that unlike the previous year, I was able to compete and also with COVID, we were still able to compete.”
Shockey was injured at Hersey warming up her then new pike Tsukahara vault. Shockey’s vault now is a half on-full off. Through continued club training with Action, Shockey has made significant progress on uneven bars and floor, usually her two strongest events.
“The one thing that the injury didn’t do was hold her back. As soon as she was ready to go, she got back right into the sport like it was stubbing her toe,” York coach Nick Criel said. “I’m really rooting for (Shockey qualifying). She’s been very consistent. If we can keep the nice consistent 9s, high 8s, she’ll be in there.”
Named with the combination of grandmother Mary and step-aunt Alice, Shockey plans to pursue sustainability or environmental science in college. She was reminded of the importance of conservation while snorkeling along the coral reefs of Puerto Rico during spring break.
This season already is special with six fourth-year seniors in the York program.
“We have a lot in common with each other so we’re really close,” Shockey said. “People on my team have been doing (gymnastics) for a really long time. I have a pretty good feeling that we’ll go pretty far.”
Last season, Glenbard West had an area-best three-score average of 143.95 (No. 5 in state) and won an unprecedented sixth straight Silver title. The Hilltoppers scored 141.95 in their Nov. 24 opener.
GYMNASTS TO WATCH
Downers Grove co-op: Senior Katrina Carlson and juniors Emily Smetana, Kate Snouffer and Natalie Simpson
Glenbard East: Senior Riley Olson and sophomores Abbie Johnson and Emma Iwaniszyn
Glenbard West: Seniors Alina Bhagwakar and Meagan McNamara, juniors Brooklyn Ford, Sammy Hopper and Skylar Oh and sophomore Janelle Gama
Hinsdale Central: Seniors Kelly Klobach and Annette Sommers and juniors Audrey Austin and Charlotte French.
Hinsdale South: Freshman Casey Fundator
Lyons Township: Junior Annmarie Holmes and freshman Emmy Bertucci
Riverside-Brookfield: Senior Nora Ford, junior Sarah Lindenberg and freshman Mia Christiansen Wheaton co-op: Junior Ashley Huang, senior Maleah Crowley and sophomores Haylie Hinckley and Jordan Wach
Willowbrook: Seniors Bella Naumovsky and Tess Placek
York: Seniors Maryalice Shockey, Ange DeBlasio and Martha Miklyukh and freshman Hayley Schiltz